Two young Iranian boys have been shot and killed allegedly by Iranian security forces during anti-government protests in southwestern Iran.
10-year-old Kian Pirfalak and 14-year-old Sepehr Maghsoudi were killed by gunmen on motorbikes on Wednesday Nov. 16 in Izeh.
The two are among seven people who were killed by gunmen in the city that night. The protests had started in Izeh on Tuesday to commemorate previous anti-government protests in 2019, which left at least 1,500 people dead.
Iranian authorities denied responsibility for the attack, saying that “terrorists” had opened fire on a gathering of protesters and security officers, the official IRNA news agency reported, according to the Guardian.
However, this has been disputed by the victims’ families and activists.
“They shouldn’t say it was terrorists, they’re lying,” Pirfalak’s mother, Zeinab Molairad, said at his funeral on Friday, according to the Washington Post. “The plainclothes [government] forces themselves shot my child.”
She said that her family had been driving home on Wednesday when they passed a group of security forces near the demonstrators before one of the officers shouted for them to turn around.
“‘Dad, this time trust the police and go back, they want what’s good for us,'” Molairad said Pirfalak had told his father.
But when they drove back, plainclothes officers opened fire and “riddled the car with bullets.”
“I told the kids to get under the seats,” she said. “If I got shot myself it won’t matter. My little one was underneath the dashboard. I don’t know why [Kian] didn’t go. He was chubby. He didn’t go under the seat.”
Pirfalak was shot in the chest with a live round and died at the scene while his father was hit three times in the back and hospitalized, a source close to his family told BBC Persian.
The same night, Maghsoodi had died after he was shot in the head with a live round, a source close to Maghsoodi’s family told BBC Persian.
Security forces then allegedly stole his body from the local mortuary after it arrived there.
Pirfalak is believed to be the youngest victim in the government’s bloody crackdown on anti-government protests that were sparked two months ago by the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died after she was arrested by “morality police” for allegedly breaking the country’s mandatory hijab law.
Since then, at least 342 people, including 43 children, have been killed as part of the crackdown as of Nov. 16, according to Iran Human Rights.